Sand in the city pipes took up most of the Willow River city council meeting on Tuesday, September 7. 

Reports of sand in the water line on Church Street in Willow River were brought to the attention of Water and Sewer operator John Mikrot. At least three residents living on Church Street had reported having what appeared to be sand in the water line.

The “sand” according to all of the research Mikrot has done is not coming from city water lines, but is instead hard water build up in the hot water heaters of these homes. Residents experiencing the problem posted on Facebook asking if anyone else had experienced these issues. Multiple neighbors on Church Street reported no issues with their water. Mikrot and the council determined that it was not an issue with the city water lines or the problem would be more widespread on the street. 

“It isn’t sand,” said Mikrot. He explained to the council how water meters installed in the homes on Church Street have a small screen in them, that would become clogged by sand and shut off the meter and the water running to the home. No one has reported this type of issue to Mikrot. 

Jetting the lines could cause some discoloration of the water. According to Mikrot there is a three to five foot cast iron pipe that attaches all fire hydrants to the regular polymer lines of the city water. When hydrants are run, and not shut off correctly, the cast iron can cause discoloration. “Not shutting a hydrant off right can really stir things up,” said Mikrot. 

Every third year Mikrot jets the lines in Willow River. This year Mikrot has already started the project, and is nearly half done. An estimated 45 gallons of sand was filtered out of the sewer line jetting by Mikrot. Televising the sewer lines in the area between Park Road and the Northern Pine Riders building  along Highway 43 was recommended by Mikrot. Estimates for the televising ranged from $3,000 to $3,700. Mikrot was advised by the council to continue to shop around for pricing on televising the lines in this area. 

Issues of tampering with a water meter were reported by Mikrot. The water meter at the hotel were installed backwards so that the meter was rolling back gallons used instead of reading them. This is the second instance of issues with the meter at the hotel that have been addressed by the council. Mikrot informed the council that he would be keeping an eye on the meter, but there was not feasible way to physically prevent the issue from continuing. 

Walter’s Road

The council discussed the need for repairs on the Willow River portions of Walter’s Road. The city shares ownership of this road with Kettle River Township. Both locations have been working together in recent months to form a more comprehensive agreement about road maintenance. Signs for a set speed limit on Walter’s Road were agreed on by the council, and presented to the township. A list of then needed signage is being created so that it can be ordered and installed. 

Areas of most concern on Walter’s Road for repair work belong to Kettle River Township according to several Willow River Council members. Mikrot will be working on patching potholes on areas of Walter’s Road owned by the city and a few other areas in the town before winter. 

Other news

The council approved increasing the Willow River Fire Relief fund pay outs from $950 to $1800 for fully vested members. 

Hydrant locks were approved for purchase by the council for 35 hydrants. 

The Willow River Fire Department is still looking for the appropriate location to install and LED sign. 

Six sets of bolt cutters were anonymously donated to the Willow River Fire Department, these will be used in emergencies to remove hydrant locks. 

The Willow River Planning Commission held their first meeting in August after being reestablished by the council. Members are working on establishing the Commission and then will work on zoning ordinance at the request of the council. 

A clean up day is scheduled for September, 11, 2021 at 10 a.m. at the pavilion. Volunteers will work on putting up a flag pole donated to the city by the American Legion, installing fencing and Permabond. The Willow River Fire Department plans to be present. 


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